Following on from my post about the house we’re staying in; this post is about the area.
It’s called Amager. Amager West to be more specific. It’s a little island to the south of Copenhagen, where the airport is based. But it doesn’t feel like an island because it connects to central Copenhagen by bridge which you can cycle, walk, drive across and the metro takes you to the city centre in 10 minutes. From getting to know more locals in Copenhagen, I’ve learnt that Amager has had a hard time of it in terms of shrugging off a poor reputation. Someone I work with said its nickname is ‘sh*t island.’ Poor Amager. But I’ve also learnt that Danes have high standards. Their version of rough, is Sheffield’s upper-end. There’s even a beach here. So, Amager – I like you. I admit, there’s not a lot to do and see in our immediate surrounding area but what is unique about where we live, is that it’s part of a haveforeninger.
There isn’t an exact translation for haveforeninger in English but it’s pretty much like a large-scale allotment. There are rows and rows of lanes, and either side is a plot of land. Instead of a shed within the garden plot, there are houses. These used to be used for summer residences only, which is why they look and feel like summer houses (this reminds me of my grandparent’s summer house on Rømø, which makes it feel familiar). In 2008 the whole area was legalised, so that all the houses could be used as permanent places to live. Each allotment community has a playground in the middle, along with a parking area. It means that in the Spring/Summer, the children all come out to play in the central area and ride their bikes up and down the lanes. There is a real sense of community about it, which is lovely. When it was Fastelavn, people came out to celebrate in each allotment square and you got a sense that everyone knew each other. They clocked straight away, we were the English family staying for two months.
You also notice, walking around here that they like their Danish flag. From having Danish family, I know the importance of the national flag. It’s not unusual to have a flag pole in your back garden in Denmark and on special family occasions and festivals like birthdays, weddings, Fastelavn, the flag is raised. Our first ever family visit to Denmark was during my older sister’s 10th birthday. My uncle raised the Danish flag in his garden to mark the day. See retro 1992 pic below!
Back to the post about our area of Amager… It’s quite hard to show the scale of the haveforeningen – without a drone anyway. Cue Rich, “you are not using your blog as a reason to buy a drone!” The second idea I had was to put a Go-Pro on my head while I cycled around. But I don’t own a Go-Pro and it’s not up there on our list of priorities right now. So I attempted cycling with one hand, while filming with the other. I put a rough edit of it together and showed it to Rich. He laughed. Maybe I’ll try again before we move to our new apartment but for now, I’ll leave at this. Happy weekend everyone.x